I have a problem with Mr Greg Madl from Swanhouse Miniatures...AGAIN.
Here are the plain and simple facts, we have all documents to back them up.
Between June 2005 and January 2006, Mr Madl purchased a few items from us through Ebay. We didn't know who he was. He offered to retail our work. We declined as we prefer to look after it ourselves.
Soon after, we were informed by a head writer for numerous important miniatures magazines that Mr Madl was selling our work on his site under the generic name "French Banquet" knowing full well that this was against our will.
We asked Mr Madl to stop this immediately. He replied that he would. However this took several months.
We met Mr Madl at the 2007 SIMP miniatures show in Paris. Mr Madl came to see us, apologised for his 'misunderstanding' (his words) and shook our hands saying that it wouldn't happen again.
A few months passed. A new buyer on Ebay using the name "snookiewon" won a batch of our items. Using a simple address check (which revealed that the contact details provided to Ebay by the seller were false), we discovered that this was Mr Madl who was using the name "George Model". This was confirmed when "George Model" replied to us denying our claim, signing his email....Greg! We said we'd prefer to keep the items and leave it there.
The items were relisted and many of them were purchased by someone using the Ebay ID "miniaturemaker". This was in July 2008.
Yesterday, alerted by a friend, I discovered these very items (from 2005 and July 2008) are currently for sale on Mr Madl's website.
I would have most certainly approached Mr Madl to settle this, but not only does he continue to not respect my choice as an artisan, he doesn't respect the miniatures themselves and I want people to know about it:
HE IS TRYING TO SELL MY MINIATURES BROKEN!
Here are the pictures of my work that Mr Madl currently has on his site. Remember this is someone claiming to "represent" miniature artisans from around the world.
To be clear - there is no way whatsoever that you should buy our miniatures through anybody other than us - Emma and Neil. Any other method exposes you to second hand items, possibly damaged and likely overpriced.
Thank you for reading this. Please be careful with your purchases and don't hesitate to leave your opinion (which can be anonymous!) and let's hope this sorry affair with Mr Madl is over.
J'ai un problème avec M. Greg Madl, de Swanhouse Miniatures...ENCORE.
Voici les faits, nous avons les documents correspondants.
Entre Juin 2005 et Janvier 2006, M. Madl nous a acheté quelques objets sur Ebay. Nous ne le connaissions pas. Il a proposé de représenter mon travail. J'ai refusé car je préfère que nous nous en occupions nous-même, Neil et moi même.
Peu après, nous avons été informés par une journaliste collaborant à d'importants magazines spécialisés dans la miniature que M. Madl vendait notre travail sur son site internet, sous le nom générique de « french banquet », sachant pertinemment que nous n'étions pas d'accord.
Nous avons demandé à M. Madl d'y mettre fin au plus vite; cela a pris plusieurs mois.
Nous avons rencontré M. Madl au Simp 2007. Il est venu nous voir, s'est excusé et nous a serré la main sur la promesse qu'il s'agissait d'un malentendu (ses propres mots) qui ne se reproduirait pas.
Quelques mois plus tard, un client sur Ebay utilisant le pseudo « SNOOKIEWON» gagne quelques miniatures. En faisant une simple vérification d'adresse, nous avons compris qu'il s'agissait de M. Greg Madl, se faisant appeler « George Model » ce qu'il a confirmé lui même en signant les emails « Greg »...
Nous lui avons fait savoir que nous préférions garder les miniatures et en rester là.
Ces objets ont été re-listés sur Ebay et certains d'entre eux achetés par « MINIATUREMAKER »au mois de juin 2008.
Hier, alertés par une amie, nous découvrons que ces mêmes ces objets (de 2005 et 2008) sont actuellement en vente sur le site de M. Madl.
J'aurais volontiers approché M. Madl directement pour régler cette affaire MAIS non seulement il n'a jamais respecté mon choix en tant qu'artisan, mais encore il ne respecte pas les miniatures elles même et je ne peux pas laisser passer ça:
IL ESSAYE DE VENDRE MES MINIATURES CASSEES!!!
Voici les photos utilisées par quelqu'un se targuant de représenter les miniaturistes du monde entier....
Pour que tout soit clair:
Il n'est possible en aucune façon d'obtenir nos miniatures autrement que directement auprès de nous, Emma et Neil. N'importe quel autre biais vous expose à des objets d'occasion, éventuellement endommagés, et très vraisemblablement hors de prix.
Merci d'avoir pris le temps de lire ceci, soyez vigilants dans vos achats et n'hésitez pas à donner votre avis ou à faire part de votre expérience (anonymement si vous le souhaitez) et espérons que c'est là le dernier chapitre de notre « histoire » avec M. Madl
Having finished our delicious crêpe lunch, we made our way towards the highlight of our visit - the chateau de Compiègne gardens!
The chateau is in the heart of the town and so after a quick stroll from the crêperie, we were soon making our way along this long, wonderful tree-lined pathway...
Before too long we were standing in the entrance to the chateau grounds...
..and following this immaculate path.
We were passing in front of some beautiful flower beds when all of a sudden...
...we caught of glimpse of the chateau roof. At this point we were both really excited and it was all we could do to not start running!
We both approached the area in front of the chateau looking in the opposite direction in order to have the full impact of seeing the chateau on turning. It's easy to know when you're directly in front without even looking at the chateau because there are markers off in the distance.
So, with our backs to the chateau, we counted down together...
Having enjoyed the gorgeous flower beds at the entrance, we realised that they were just a "starter"! The gardens in front of the chateau were even more spectacular - here's a taste...
Miniman was particularly pleased with this photo with the chateau as a backdrop. Not sure whether he was ready to accept that the "N"s on the chateau were for Napoleon and NOT Neil...
Further along, the pathways become plant-covered tunnels which provided some welcome respite from the sun.
With all that heat, even the statues look tired!
A girl has to keep her cool somehow!
We were simply bowled over by the sheer beauty of this place. The fact that it's so vast (and no longer the holidays!) meant that we had the impression that we were on our own.
Oh, and those flowers again...
So that's it for our day out at Compiègne! A pretty town, lots of nice restaurants and a gorgeous chateau.
There was an enormous choice of restaurants from which to choose. We narrowed it down to a "real" gastronomic restaurant, a French bistro serving hearty portions, a charming pizzeria and a crêperie. Everywhere the terraces were packed, which is generally a good sign as the people eating there were generally locals on their lunch break, so they know the best places to eat!
Perhaps tempted by the idea of a pitcher of cider on a hot day, we chose the crêperie "La Bolée" which you can find here.
So there we were in the region of Picardie about to sample a traditional Brittany meal - it's so easy to travel without moving!
The cider is poured into bowls and not glasses - a first for Miniman so used to English pub pint glasses! And at 10% a.b.v. combined with empty tummies and the burning sun, it didn't take long for the cider to rush to our heads!
Luckily the crêpes arrived before we had time to start dancing on the tables.
They were enormous, a bit too large for the plates! Although it may not look like much from the outside, this monster was packed with scrambled egg, melted "emmental" cheese and lardons, but you could make your own fillings from a generous list of options.
The pretty garnish brought a welcome touch of colour to the meal!
At just over halfway through our crêpes, we already had the impression that we had eaten too much, but we soldiered on.
Would we go for a dessert? We are very "gourmand", so of course we did! What did we have?
Miniman went for the caramelised apple with Chantilly cream and a scoop of caramel ice cream.
Yum - worth a closer look!
Emmaflam went for vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate sauce and Chantilly cream.
We experienced a new taste sensation, hot chocolate sauce eaten with a sprig of fresh mint...
...total heaven, a bit like the most luxurious After Eight mint you could ever imagine! Try it.
So with full tummies and happy faces, we set off for an afternoon doing....well, all will be revealed in Part III - Lovers of France will not want to miss it!
While waiting for that, here is a selection of some of our miniature crêpes!
Crêpe Suzette in a pan from February 2006
Crêpe dessert with cream and orange sorbet from April 2009
Chocolate crêpe dessert from...Saturday!
A chocolate crêpe that was part of a brooch from June 2009
With another gloriously sunny day arriving out of the blue yesterday, we took the opportunity to visit the medieval town of Compiègne.
We spent the morning wandering around the narrow market streets with their tiny boutiques and countless restaurants and bistros and would like to share with you a few of the photos from the morning. Please click on them to enjoy the larger versions.
After a short walk from the almost invisible underground car park, the first thing we came across was the magnificent Town Hall.
Bordering a beautiful square...
....this building is packed with fine detail from the doorway right up to the top of the steeple...
...where these three chaps ring their bells every 15 minutes.
On a hot day like this, it's difficult to know what to do with the shutters - leave them open to fully enjoy the sunshine or close them to keep your apartment nice and cool? Here, opinion seems to be mixed!
The narrow streets were pretty much deserted which meant that we could really take our time and enjoy our walk through history!
There are still an enormous amount of half-timbered buildings.
And some solid looking doorways!
We even came across some art deco.
As mid-day rang out, the restaurants and bistros quickly filled up with diners eager to take advantage of the terraces.
There was quite a choice of restaurants, so what did we choose?
Below, a photo of our local "Monoprix" supermarket this afternoon. Similar to any other French supermarket cookie shelf. Basically, lots of LU...
But look...lost there in the middle. Something brand new here, but something very familiar to millions....
McVitie's Digestives! Even better...CHOCOLATE ones! They're here at last! That's one less thing to buy on the next visit to England (that'll save some weight on the ferry!)
And in boxes of 300g and 400g, they put the air-filled packets of LU* and Bonne Maman* to shame!
Now if only they'd start selling PG Tips, we could have a good old English tea break!
So we're begging our French readers to go out and buy them so that they'll stay. As well as being a delicious nibble, they're great for making cheesecake bases! And they are so much nicer (and better value) than "Granola" cookies. AND your first purchase can be refunded! What have you got to lose...?!
*We love them too, but you don't get much for your money!
We took some time off in August, partly planned (a week with the family near Aix-en-Provence in...er...Provence) followed by more than a week unplanned due to the internet box fizzling out when we turned it on after the week away! So with no internet and no telephone, all on-line business was taken care of on the laptop at a local burger place with a free wifi hotspot! But we only drank coffee...well, almost...
So yesterday we'd planned to get back to work. It was a Monday and as the village kids will be going back to school later this week, it seemed like the right time to get back into the swing of things. Our own personal, grown-up version of "back to school"!
However, from Sunday to Monday, the weather changed from pleasantly warm to unbelievably hot. And as it was only due to last for one single day (for once the forecast was right; it has rained nearly all day today...) we decided to avoid cooping ourselves up in the workshop and instead have a wander around the village, taking a path we'd never taken before.
We also kept an eye open in the hope that we'd stumble across some blackberry brambles...
We took the back road out of the village past the farm and the gîte.
The lack of recent rain was soon evident!
Apart from good old dirt, there was nothing in the near fields
And nothing in the sky...
...apart from the aeroplanes flying in and out of Charles de Gaulle - were they leaving or arriving? The unobscured view from up there must have been amazing.
We usually turn here to take another path around the village, so this tree marks the furthest we'd ever been in this direction and Emmaflam bravely passes it without flinching!
We head out past cornfields
And past fields of sugar beet
Then all of a sudden...nothing on the horizon! Until we reach the crest and...
...hurrah! A blackberry bush!
There were lots ready for picking...
...and even the "escargots" got in on the act! Would they have a blackberry flavour too...?
We didn't try...!
We returned with nearly a kilo of blackberries from just this one small bush. No doubt we'll be off again the next dry day we get...
They were put to good use as soon as we returned home. Blackberry jam...
...which was spread on a slice of brioche for breakfast this morning! Yummy!
We couldn't let a post like this go by without featuring a miniature somewhere, and of course there's a blackberry or two on it!
And here's the same piece with some of yesterday's harvest.
So in the end, the fact that you're reading this means that today is the day we finally get back to work!